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Bless My Old Bones
[ Non-fiction : Health/ ]

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Thatís the trouble with getting older Ė you feel like the same person you were twenty years before (or even forty years before) but your body no longer wants to do what you tell it. Itís less strong than you think itís going to be, it tires out quickly, and it does all kinds of embarrassing things you never previously had any problems with. And of course, thereís always some ache or pain, or something needing to be fixed or brought under control.

Until now, I always thought the worst thing about being old was looking in the mirror. Iíd often feel surprised when I saw the wrinkles on my face, and for a second, Iíd wonder who that person was, staring back at me. I mean, inside, I still feel about twenty years old! Now Iím actually too old to care how my wrinkles look, and I realise theyíre not the worst thing about being old anyway.

Last summer I broke my wrist, when I fell down on the bumpy sidewalk. See what I mean about the body not doing what you want it to? I was asking it to cross the road! There was never any instruction about sprawling all over the ground. My leg just disobeyed me, went the wrong way, and caught on a cracked part of the path.

Have you ever noticed how people who get to a certain age suddenly start falling over constantly? Thatís about where I am now. So there I was, lying flat out on the road, and I couldnít even get up without about three people helping me up. I would have laughed, but unfortunately I was in so much pain, all I did was groan until the ambulance arrived.

Theyíre great, those paramedic boys. They really fix you up well. And the doctors were all ok, too. Problem was, then I had to go home on my own, back where I need two hands to live by myself. Nobody thought of that, did they? They just sent me back to deal with putting on my clothes and trying to wash by myself, but with the use of only one arm. Let me tell you, itís impossible!

My husband died about 7 years ago now, and I still miss him. But boy, did I miss him even more after I broke my wrist! It took about 2 hours just to feed the cat, what with all the contortions, convolutions and what-have-you to get the lid off the tin and so on. They really could have made a comedy sketch about it. Except that this is my life, and for me, itís not so funny.

I have a daughter, a great girl. But sheís not settled down yet, and she canít be here all the time. At the time of my wrist problem, she was actually in deepest Africa, doing charity work. I didnít want her to have to come home before the project was finished, so I didnít really tell her what had happened. She was annoyed and upset when she found out, yes sir! But I wouldnít have forgiven myself if sheíd cut her trip short, particularly when she was helping people out there.

Anyhow, after some weeks, what seemed like years, we finally got the plaster cast off my arm and I was able to wash it again. Thank goodness for that, because I was beginning to think it didnít belong to me anymore! It still hurts from time to time, when the weather gets cold and so on, but apart from that, itís healed up ok. But I havenít lost is the feeling of fragility in my body Ė and the sense that Iím no longer secure on my own two legs. Thatís quite sobering, and Iíll be making sure I get some good shoes for the icy winter.


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